Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Iranians Deny the Arrogant Literature of
Professor William O. Beeman Interviewed By Kourosh Ziabari
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 5, 2010
Iran is still under the continued and relentless pressures of the Western
governments to halt its nuclear program. While Israel is illegally advancing
its nuclear activities in violation of the UNSC resolution 487, Iran is
being lethally pressured by the West to retreat from its nuclear programs.
In an interview with the American academician and commentator William O.
Beeman, I've discussed the prospect of Iran-U.S. relations in the wake of
growing conflict over the nuclear program, the impact of Islamic revolution
of Iran on the course of political equations in the world and the modality
of Iran-West relations with regards to the nuclear dispute.
Prof. William O. Beeman is the head of anthropology
department at the University of Minnesota. His inimitable and independent
approach toward the current affairs of Iran, one of the most controversial
countries of the world, resembles the attitude of Noam Chomsky in terms of
perspective and mindset and has cost him his reputation, professional
Regrettably, he was insulted and attacked by a number of
American mainstream media and fanatic neoconservatives over the past years
and even his academic colleagues blamed him for what they considered to be
his support for the main pivot of the “axis of evil”.
who speaks the Persian language fluently believes that Iranian people should
not be treated with disdain and arrogance since their ancient superiority
and historical backgrounds causes them to be resistant toward the hostile
rhetoric and inimical literature.
He says that it’s not justifiable
with any conscious and knowledgeable mind to allow Israel to accumulate an
arsenal of 200 atomic warheads while putting lethal pressure on Iran to
suspend its civilian nuclear program.
In an interview for the
Foreign Policy Journal, I talked to Prof. Beeman on a variety of
Iran-involved topics including the media propaganda, nuclear dossier and the
prospect of revolution.
The Islamic Revolution of Iran emerged
alongside a series of brisk transformations and makeovers in the arrangement
of international deals and equations. One of these prominent contributions
was the permanent dissolution of CENTO pact. How do you perceive that? How
did the Iranian Revolution of 1979 impact upon the formation of
The Islamic movement has been active for
more than 100 years. One of the most important figures, Jamal ed-Din
al-Afghani, (Asadabadi for most Iranians) was very influential throughout
the Islamic world. The Islamic world was suffering from military and
economic oppression from Europe, largely because of the advantages the West
gained through the Industrial Revolution. He urged the following remedies:
1- Purification of Islam– He claimed that the Islamic world had lapsed
because faith in Islam had lapsed. Renewed faith and practice in Islam was
2-Reform– He urged Islamic leaders to re-examine Shari’a
Law and practice to modernize in conformity with the modern world. One of
his followers, Mohammad Abduh of Egypt, “opened the door of ‘Ijtehad” to
enact legal reform.
3- Resistance– He urged Muslims everywhere to
resist colonial influence. This led to groups like the Muslim
Brotherhood, and indirectly to the Iranian Revolution.
All three of
these elements were active in the Iranian Revolution. The Iranian revolution
was the first revolution in the Middle East to oppose Western colonialism in
the name of Islam. This was a complete fulfillment of the promise of the
Islamic movement. It was very inspirational for the rest of the Islamic
world. There was one difficulty–the Sunni world was uncomfortable that it
was undertaken by the Shi’a community, but Ayatollah Khomeini’s picture was
on the walls of Muslim homes everywhere in the Islamic world from Morocco to
So, do you believe that the new government of Iran
managed to polarize the distribution of political power by giving birth to a
new regional hub and fading the hegemony of the U.S. and Russia?
Yes, I agree. However, just as the original Islamic movement identified the
alliance between corrupt Middle Eastern leaders and European colonial power
as the basis for misery in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th Centuries,
so today do the leaders of some Middle Eastern nations, who are allied with
the West, decry Iran. However, the people of the Islamic World respect and
admire Iran’s willingness to carry out the philosophy of “Neither East nor
West.” So there is a distinction between leaders of Islamic States, many of
whom are even afraid of the Iranian philosophy, and the people, who admire
the Iranian philosophy. Again, this distinction is more than 150 years old.
Was the omnipotent catchphrase of Iranian revolutionary thinking, i.e.
the supportive umbrella for the oppressed nations and subjugated people of
the world, a major factor in the ultimate victory of anti-Western movement
of Iranians in 1979 which was spearheaded by Imam Khomeini?
actually Imam Khomeini’s philosophy was inspirational for many people
throughout the world; I certainly support this ideal. This has been one of
the hallmarks of the Iranian Revolution as it goes forward. However, I would
be less than honest if I didn’t admit that this ideal has not been
completely realized in Iran. Iran’s support for downtrodden people in
Lebanon and the Palestinian world shows the power of this philosophy. It is
an ideal toward which we all must strive. Consequently, people must
continually make their leaders aware of these ideals, and hold them to those
ideals. This should be a theme in the next Iranian elections, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, Iran has been grappling with a huge amount of black
propaganda and psychological attacks vindicated by the corporate and
so-called independent media of the West since the dissolution of the
U.S.-backed monarchy. How do you perceive that?
has become the most popular villain for American politicians. Both Democrats
like Representative Gary Ackerman and Republicans like Senator Sam Brownback
can attack Iran and become popular. In fact no American politician ever lost
a vote by attacking Iran. Partly, Americans are still mad about the American
hostages in 1979-80. They are also mad about Iranian opposition to Israel,
which is largely supported in the U.S. It wasn’t always so. In the 1980′s
the universal villain was Libya, and the rhetoric against Iran today is
almost exactly the same as the rhetoric against Libya. There is a practical
reason for this. Lobbying groups, such as AIPAC have enormous influence in
the United States They review all candidates for election, and have
influence over every newspaper, television and radio station. Their
sponsored organizations, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
(WINEP), and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have millions of
dollars behind them, and large publicity agencies working for them, their
opinions and editorials appear in every U.S. media outlet every day. It is
very difficult to counteract these people. They are actively working to
promote attacks on Iran.
As you implied, the root of anti-Iranian
sentiments lies in the nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic which the
Western governments and their affiliated corporate media portray as
threatening to international peace. Should Iran pursue its nuclear programs
under the current pressures?
Iran is granted the “inalienable right”
to the development of peaceful nuclear energy under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United States and some European powers want to
claim that Iran should be different, and should have its treaty rights
denied, because some people thought that Iran “might” be making weapons.
There is absolutely no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and
it should be allowed to continue to exercise its rights under the Treaty.
How should the Western powers deal with Iran regarding its nuclear
program? Will the continuation of current “stick and carrot” stance be
fruitful in this framework?
Iranians will grant legitimate respect
to those who deserve it–to honorable leaders, virtuous scholars and wise
teachers. They hate “ghodrat talabi” (Desire for illegal power) when people
try to exercise power without legitimacy. Yazid is an example of such a
person. Just as Imam Hossein would not yield to the illegitimate authority
of Yazid, so will the Iranian people not yield to the illegitimate authority
of, for example, George W. Bush. The strong sense of spiritual purity and
justice is a characteristic of Iranian life, and Iranians will resist
injustice and illegitimate exercise of power, even if they must die for it.